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On Gluten Free and the Bakery

2012 July 2
by Ryan

So while perusing our friendly neighborhood Internet, I came across a review of our store:

When I asked for gluten free bread they said they didn’t have enough room to offer it. How much space does a loaf of bread take in the freezer?

I would like to clarify some things about this statement and our decision to not offer gluten free items.

First, let me just say that freezer space really isn’t the issue. While we are tight on freezer space, we do not place our breads into a freezer–ever. Our breads are hand-created each and every day from scratch. Since there are no preservatives used in the baking process here, freezer or not, our breads will stale. And we’re not selling you that. At most, we have 1 1/2 days worth of bread to serve. Because, yes, even in the refrigerator, the bread will stale faster than we can use it if we make more than that amount.

But let’s get to the heart of the matter: the size of our bakery.

Our bakery

This is our bakery. No, not one side of our bakery, not one room of our bakery, our bakery. This is it. One 20 quart mixer, one oven under the prep table that’s smaller than a lot of your kitchen ovens, and storage. Sure, there’s a refrigerator and a freezer just out of frame, but that’s it.

In order to brag about scratch-made Gluten Free Breads and pastries, we need a lot more space. Everything that touches flour cannot be used to properly make Gluten Free items. Because of our “we will only carry baked goods we create” policy here, there is simply no way for us to not cross-contaminate a Gluten Free item.

As an aside, this size limitation is also why we’re always limited in pastry offerings: not only is this little oven the baking oven, all of our kitchen’s prep items (potatoes, bacon, chicken, etc.) come out of this oven, too. Our oven goes on at 4 in the morning, and it’s usually after 2 in the afternoon before it’s turned off.

And that’s just the bakery. Our kitchen, which is fully visible from the dining room, does not have the space or equipment to fully separate the Gluten Free from the non-GF items.

Do we want to offer Gluten Free breads and pastries? Of course. Will we in our new store? Absolutely.

Until we are in the new store, we ask that you understand that we are doing what we can with the space we have (which we have fully outgrown), and we are unwilling to make anyone sick because of accidental ingestion of glutens when their system cannot handle it.

We will happily steer you away from our baked goods and towards menu items that are gluten free by design. Please don’t hesitate to ask.

Jennifer says:

We appreciate you guys do to help keep gluten away from our family. 🙂 So many places think they can offer Gluten Free foods but don’t realize that even the oven can cross contaminate the flours. We will patiently await the new store.